Wednesday, December 30, 2009


I know I still have a lot of catching up to do. But for now, this is the only photo I have on hand of any recent stuff. So, while I have internet access, I'll post it.

I had a lot of fun with this one. It was inspired by my time spent in Texas, and painted there. There are lots of subtle layers, and I like the texture.
It has a home already, and I believe it is happy there. :)

Wednesday, December 09, 2009


Oil is a good soothing happy medium for me. How I've missed it. Only, I didn't realize how much I love and miss the stuff until this past weekend. I have been opting for acrylics lately, because they dry quickly, and well, they aren't as toxic. And I've decided that the clean-up is easier when you just have to rinse out your brushes and pour your dirty water down the drain rather than the multiple steps it takes to properly clean up after a session with oils.

But this weekend when I went on a trip, I packed up my oils by mistake. (I recently reorganized my art supplies and got my tackle-boxes confused.) The mood struck and I wanted to paint, but I didn't have what I wanted. I wanted to finish some acrylics I'd been working on, and some that were only sketched out so far. I wanted to be neat and tidy and I didn't want to bring out the Turpenoid or my Liquin.

I now think that rather than being a total accident, life simply had other plans for me. I didn't get what I wanted but what I needed.

I pulled out several colors, and therapeutically mixed them. I just love, LOVE mixing colors. I have a whole method to it, and it so relaxing for me.

Getting my colors ready set the stage for me to start on a couple of blank masonite panels.

I painted wild and loose and had fun with my oils. I used colors I normally shy away from for the first one (yellows, grays, and black) and pale creams, skin tones and reds on the second one. So far I just have some nice abstract shapes, vibrant colors, and tone variations going on, but I hope to get some more accomplished on those panels soon. I didn't pack my Cobalt drier, so I'm going to have to wait a few days.

Something else that I thought was totally awesome is that I was painting in the same room as my friend, who was on the computer, and I got no complaints from him on the smells. How lovely. The fumes and odors that oil painting are associated with is too much for most people, but my friend didn't even so much as comment on it. I think I'll keep him around.

* I'll post pictures soon, once I get my own internet again and don't have to use the library.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

More work to be done

I've been revisiting an old theme lately: patterns. I started on a few different paintings Fall semester of 2005. I was reassessing things, reviewing my life, and remembering where I came from. When I started on these paintings, it was around the one year anniversary of my grandfather's death. Soon after, my grandma passed away. Painting was not only a welcome distraction, it really helped me cope.

I set to work, recalling the patterns at play in my own life at that time, the patterns that I got into on my own, as well as those passed down from my parents and grandparents. There were patterns of behavior that were beneficial, that helped and supported me. But there were still others that I recognized were holding me back. I had cast some of them off by then, but there always seems to be little dust bunnies hiding, needing to be swept clean from time to time. So this series of paintings was an experiment. It was a way for me to attempt to portray behaviors and habits in a visual way.

I had only ever known that one set of grandparents, on my mother's side. They were my strongest connection to Poland, and I knew with both of them gone, visits there would be completely different. Painting was a way of processing. It gave me energy and a project to focus on completing.

Then my father passed away a month later. I felt deflated and worn out. I never finished all of the paintings. But they have stuck with me. Perhaps they haunt me because there is still some unfinished problem-solving to be done. Or maybe I just don't like looking at them as they are, half-finished, undone, quiet reminders of a time where I didn't keep going. They have gotten under my skin.

So here are some some of those older paintings, as they stand now. But I believe I now have the pluck to get back to them, to finish them. And maybe in so doing, I'll have new ideas sprout from these old patterns.

What I do like about these images is that, like in our lives, some are concise, some messy, some patterns obliterate others, some grow and become more defined, others fade out of existence, some are complex, and others are quite simple.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

I don't normally believe in love at first sight...

But for you, I'll make an exception. I have a confession to make, I've fallen for you, Seattle. I am, at the very least, totally and completely infatuated with you. I am smitten by your history, by how nature is reclaiming you crumbling brick by brick, by how close you are to both mountain and sea, by your sites, and smells, and the people that fill you.

I admit to even liking your quirks. I figure that's a good sign. A sign of potential perhaps. I quite adore how wonderfully mismatched you can be--how sleek, crisp skyscrapers jut out, protectively shadowing clusters of softened, worn-in mortar and brick in some places you have crammed yourself right up to the edges, to the brink of falling into Puget Sound, and yet you have space for parks and grass and trees and you can be so full of grays and yet so vibrantly colorful. And I didn't even mind that it rained each time I visited you, even though it was not my favorite kind of rain. That's sort of a big deal for me.

You are large, but still have quaint corners, full and yet somehow still roomy-- how do you do it? How do you still leave me thinking that there may yet be room within you for me?

Some day, just maybe.

Geometry and Lights


A Corner Peeling

Various Stages

Neatly Arrayed

Arcade Fruits


Wednesday, October 21, 2009


How to make a closed-environment terrarium:

Get your supplies ready and set up, and just do it. If you're into that sort of thing. I used the counter space in my bathroom, but anywhere that is easy to clean up works just fine.

What you'll need:

  • Terrarium. This can be any number of things. An aquarium with a lid, a pickle jar, an old apothecary jar, a mason jar that you want to retire from canning, whatever you like. It just needs to be able to be closed tight, if you want a closed-environment terrarium, and transparent, so you can see your creation. (Keep in mind that ornate glass jars and containers, while nice on their own, can detract from visibility.)
  • Live moss, and if you like-- a small selection of plants.
  • Small stones/large pebbles, for drainage at the bottom.
  • Activated Carbon, to stave off weird smells.
  • Sheet moss or moss-like greenery, to use as a filler and to hide unseemly dirt. (Can be purchased at any craft store.)
  • Skewer, pencil, or other long thin stick-like apparatus that can be used to get into the terrarium. This gives you better control of where things go and how the end product will appear.
  • Floral wire. This is optional, but can really help you keep your live moss in place.

To get started, you'll want to put about an inch or so of pebbles in the bottom of your terrarium. I used a wide-mouth container, so I just placed them in by the handful, but if your container pinches in at the top, just make a funnel out of some stiff paper to make your life easier. Then cover that with a small layer of activated carbon. Like I mentioned before, this keeps icky smells away. Then, what I did was stuff some "moss" into the terrarium to create a mound to work off of. I then covered that with a little clean fill dirt (potting soil).

It's all about layering.
I arranged the plants and moss somewhat in a bowl to see how they'd interact with one another, and then I recreated that (kind of) in the terrarium. I put the plants in and then live moss around them, patting them into place. There are three different kinds of moss in there, but I'm pretty sure they'll all be happy together. (I found two of them within 3 feet of one another.)

On the areas that slope, you may want to pin your moss into place.

To make the pins, I just cut a few inches of floral wire, and then bent the pieces in half. Easy-peasy. Then you just stick that through your moss so that it is secured. (Photo further down.)

When everything was in its place and I was happy with how it looked, I watered the terrarium just a little bit, and put the lid on. I'll watch it for a while to make sure it is stable, not too wet, and not too dry. And after that? I'll just sit back and enjoy it for a while (making sure that it gets plenty of indirect sunlight, as not to cook it).

Looking down onto the whole of it.

Terrarium, complete.

Terrarium, up close.

So right now this terrarium is a very green space, but I'm considering putting a little glass or ceramic figurine in there.

So you get done and you find you have a little extra moss hanging around, what do you do? Why, you make a second, smaller terrarium. For this one, I used a pickle jar. I happened to have a tiny little faux terracotta pot, so I put a couple of pebbles in the bottom of it, then some carbon, and piled the soil into a mound. I most definitely used pins that I made out of floral wire here.

Pins, lined up.

I loved how over-flowing the tiny little pot looked, and was content with just that simple design.

I decided against having the lid as the top of this particular piece. Assembling it the other way around gave me a better view of the moss, and better utilized the space.

Small terrarium, done

Winter is coming, and I wanted to save a little green for myself. Mission accomplished.

Friday, October 16, 2009

A Little Abstraction

...never hurt anyone.

Since I've been on this photography kick lately, here are two of my abstract digital shots, taken on my Canon:

Since they ARE abstract, I'll let you decide what they might be. Oh, and no titles for these.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Cross Processing

Always some risk, sometimes a reward. . .
Here are some of my more recent cross-processed Holga prints for your viewing pleasure:

And Then The Clouds Came

This shot was taken in July sometime, just outside of Zion National Park. (Just before my friends all got severely rained on.) I hardly ever get any light leaks with my Holga anymore. I'm not sure how I got so lucky with this one. I'm guessing it happened after I took the film out, maybe it was wound loosely on the take-up spool? Either way, I like the occasional light leak. It adds to the adventure, never knowing just what you'll end up with when you pick your prints up.


Just look at the crisp edges on the tops of those tulips. And isn't that shade of green amazing?
This and the following photos were taken just outside of the Indianapolis Museum of Art. A lovely garden and a nature hike area snuggle up against the museum--such fun exploring if you're ever in the area on a nice day.

Delicious Three

Well, isn't it? I'm quite happy with how the colors turned out on this shot. And I think the reflections are so fun.

Numbers Times Two

Here I did a double-exposure and then cross-processed. I am quite pleased with how the numbers line up just so. . . As always, I'm also a big fan of the vignetting along the outer edge.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A Windfall

Remember when I said I'd post some pin-hole photos? Has it really been nearly 5 months?

Well, I just got a bunch of my negatives printed. They are, of course, from a variety of my toy cameras. I love it. There is something so... reassuring in having a print in my hand, a physical representation of a memory, a place visited, people I care about, some experiment played out. . . It is like catching hold of an emotion, change, or some evolution mid-process. You can look back and trace your personal history, how you've evolved as a photographer or person in general, have a witness to how things were (with some flattening and distortion), recall places you've been, or glance back at the seasons as they've marched on.

I'm getting all mushy and nostalgic, but that's how I get about my toy cameras. Maybe it is because I put more of myself into them, I modify them, paint them, I stake claims. There's also the process itself: it is slower, and as a result, I have to slow down, be more methodical and aware of my surroundings as a photographer. (Thereby imprinting the memory of the place/moment more fully upon my mind.) Or perhaps it is that the images themselves have a more romantic nature-- All full of soft focus, vignetting, color shifts, and happy accidents. (Light leaks, buckled film, surprise double exposures...) Then there's also the memory of what it took to make the photograph happen that attaches itself to the images. It isn't always as simple and point and shoot. There is the construction and modification of cameras, finding where to place a pinhole camera where it will stay still for seconds at a time, and recalling some of the odd looks you get from people that might wonder just what it is that you're wielding about.

Whatever the case may be, I am completely and utterly in love with my little photographic experiments. So I hope you like me sharing some of them with you.

The following is a photo of two of the cameras used in the production of photos in this post:
Whew, that was a lot of p's...

The Holga at the left has had its lens temporarily removed and replaced with a pinhole pierced into a bit of Pepsi can. I set the shutter to the "bulb" function, which means it will stay open as long as I keep the shutter pressed down. It is a great function for long exposure pinhole photography, but you need to remember to switch it back to normal when you're done (or like really shaky photos.) I ran a roll of black and white 120 format film through it.

The minty-pin on the bottom right was also enlisted in the documentation of my adventures. It has a very short focal length which actually makes it better suited to close-up shots. I didn't really pay attention to that and just went and had fun. The minty-pin began its life as a Small Altoids tin and I converted it into a 35 mm pinhole camera.

From my minty-pin I got these images, to share a few:

Accidental Double

I really didn't mean for this to be a double-exposure, but I like how it turned out. I also heart the light leak in this one.

Waiting To Play

That playground sure looks lonely, but I couldn't seem to find an opportunity when there were children just sitting there nice and still.

Cactus bloom

These next shots are from my pin-Holga. I didn't properly tape up the back of my Holga (which has a red acetate window to view the paper-backed film as it rolls through) and light leaked in. That is what contributed to the grainy images as well as the fact that if you look closely, each picture has dots emblazoned onto it. The dots are most obvious in the dandelion scene below.

Sunset From The Point Of View Of A Field Mouse

Train Rest

Photo taken by my friend Jeff Hansen in Nevada. I'll mention here that while this was black and white film, the images all came out with this brown-black and white effect. So fun. To me, at least.

Desert Mystery

Next to the Tree of Utah sculpture. I love how the foreground is all crackled and dry, and how dreamy it all looks.

Afternoon In The Garden

This place was actually full of colors the day I took this shot. The sky was a brilliant blue, and all around were several shades of green from the trees, bushes, and grass, as well as pink, cream, and purple flowers in bloom in the beds. Maybe I could have pulled off a dreamy feel to it if I'd taken a color photo, but I didn't. And you know what? I'm glad I did what I did.

Grasping At Memories

Someone described this photo as looking like "a half-forgotten memory." I felt it was an apt description. It is a photo of the Bonneville Salt Flats. Don't you just love the fluffy clouds floating overhead?

All of the above photos (minus the one of the actual cameras themselves) are examples of pin-hole photography. If you stop at think about it, isn't it grand what what one tiny little hole can do?

The last that I'll share today are from my dearly departed Windsor. I shared some scans in my last post, but these are scans of actual prints. Yay!

Delicate Arch

Indiana Forest

The trees are so softly focused that they look hug-able, don't you think?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Developing Ghosts

So I developed a bunch of my Holga and Windsor shots. Some date back to February. Yikes. But I'm finally doing it. And it makes me happy. I got 5 rolls of medium format film developed and one roll of 35mm. They are all images from my "toy" cameras.

I just had the film developed, not printed. I like a lot of the shots, so I'm going to have to get some of them printed out next.

At the moment, I have a small preview of some of the photos. They are the scanned and manipulated negatives which is not so pretty to look at, but, it'll give you an idea of what's next.

At the Wave, February 2009

The above photo was taken on my now deceased Windsor camera. Before it decided to warp out of functionality, I happily toted it around along with my Holga.

I've discovered that the Windor's shutter works just fine, so I've hacked and sawed what was left of my little plastic baby into pieces. I'm hoping I can salvage the shutter mechanism and Frankenstein it into some kind of working camera again.

Mostly I just need to find a new lens. I can build a camera body fairly easily... but I'm daydreaming and will stop now.

The following two photographs were my first foray into night photography with my Holga. They just so happen to be photographs of the Fourth of July fireworks in St. George and Washington, Utah.The first is more easily recognized as fireworks, but I like how the sparks and trails of lights line up in the second one. (The second photograph is a double-exposure.)

4th of July, Holga style

Holga doubles your holiday fun

Lastly, I've included a few more scenes that my Windsor captured. They are a triptych of Indianapolis, Indiana. This was from my excursion walking around downtown Indy alone, so I didn't venture too far with a plastic camera hanging off my neck. The locales are probably all within about ten blocks of one another.




Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Sunless Sunflowers

I stumbled upon these little lovelies while taking a night walk around Provo, Utah. In the daylight, they would have just been gigantic sunflowers. Big, sure, but just sunflowers. But seeing them at night, with the inky blue-black sky as a backdrop, that was magical.

Towering Giants

Sunflowers at Night

Sunflowers and Stars

Evening Bouquet

The tallest flowers were over seven feet in height. They were a quite impressive treat.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

August paintings under way

So I didn't make it into the show. But I now have a handful of happy and fresh paintings that I can either try to get into some other show or possible give away. Or then there's etsy. . . maybe there's something worth trying out. We'll see. Either way, artist's block, what artist's block?
I'm back to painting and creating again, and I think that's a way better thing to be able to report than just being in one little ol' show. Don't you agree? :)

In the meantime, here's a few of my latest little ones...



The Beginnings Of A Family Tree